The Cathedral Quarter BID and St Peters Quarter BID’s as part of Derby’s Economic Recovery Task Force are working on a new project to target vacant retail units in St James’s Street, Market Place and Iron Gate.
It aims to encourage makers, artists, designers and those in creative digital businesses to cluster along the route, linking with the development of the new £17m Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill.
The idea follows the success of similar initiatives in Margate and Hull – the latter involved the re-imagining of the city’s rundown Fruit Market, which has resulted in more than £80m of private sector regeneration investment and 300 jobs created in the surrounding area as a result.
Derby City Council has already engaged the consultants behind the Hull project, Creative Space Management, and plans to appoint a city centre manager to help drive the scheme forward.
It will work with landlords of empty shops to attract tenants from its target sectors by offering incentives such as small grants to support fit-out, rates mitigation and a pool of demand for space.
The Council also plans to improve the street scene by illuminating buildings, commissioning public art and creating green ‘parklets’.The project team will work closely with the University of Derby to engage graduates in the project.
The scheme is part of a wider set of initiatives to stimulate activity in the city centre.
The Council has bid for more than £23m of Government funding for regeneration and public realm projects, has won £10m to create a new city park and free up land for homes and commerce as part of flood alleviation measures, has announced plans for a new performance and conference arena at Becketwell and is supporting private sector developers to deliver hundreds of new homes.